Growing Wild

With Dr Catherine Keena

Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist

Look out for selfheal with purple-blue irregular flowers in whorls. Beneath the compact cylindrical flowerhead on a spike there are two leaves held at a slightly downward angle. While it is in the mint plant family, it is unscented, but liked by bees and moths. A distinctive feature are its square stems. It grows low to the ground in short grassland where it spreads by creeping. One of seven key herbs in traditional medicine, selfheal was used by people to heal their own wounds. Another valuable indicator plant for farmers in ACRES – it is part of our native Irish biodiversity.

Letter to the editor

Dear Madam,

I sit here writing this letter as the rain beats blatantly against the kitchen window. One cannot help but wonder what is to come next. The saga of the flooding along the shores of Lough Funshinagh, Rahara, Co Roscommon, that is.

One family was forced out of their home over two years ago because of the flooding and their home demolished shortly there-after. Their only evidence of ever having lived there is a remaining boundary wall and a pink cabbage rose which stands firm. The nightmare is now ongoing since 2016 with families living on a continual sword edge and voices floating into the abyss. We are informed by government officials that the matter must go through Europe, which could take between three and five years. I am afraid that will be too little, too late. At that stage there will be three houses lost with the possibility of up to seven, dependent on rainwater levels. This is a humanitarian crisis. We have had meetings after meetings with no glimmer or hope of relief in sight.

As an avid nature lover who runs the shoreline most days, it is quite depressing to see the number of wildfowl dwindle as a result of being left homeless. Our resident hooper swans are depleted from flocks of 20 or 30 to seven or eight maximum. The local media flurry has now died off and the families along the shorelines feel abandoned. As a concerned resident and nature lover living along the shoreline, I will be most grateful if you would include my letter in your next edition as a means of keeping our voices alive.

Kind regards,

Avril Dowd-Cloonan

Picture of the week

Katie Murphy from Co Cork testing out the grass on a mid-summers evening/Lucy Murphy

Quote of the week

Don’t just think about it, do it – it will be the right decision. Have no fears; sometimes we think everyone will be looking at us. To be honest, no one cares because they have enough to do to get themselves there. Women in action, Paula Donnellan

Number of the week: €1,555

The average amount paid by Irish individual policy holders for health insurance following a 4.5% hike Health

Online pic of the week

With the 2023 West Cork Chamber Music festival in full swing, we speak with festival founder, Francis Humphrys as he prepares for the 27th year of this renowned summer event.